music royalties

The music industry has changed so much over recent years.  The internet presents opportunities for everyones music to be heard; musicians across the globe can now release and publish their music without the need for that elusive record deal.  It’s an exciting time to be a musician, but it can also be a confusing one.

In this article we are looking at royalty payments for musicians and how you can register to earn them.

What are Royalties?

Royalty payments are sums of money paid to song writers, composers, publishers and record companies when their music is broadcast or performed to the public.  Royalties can be earned for radio play, music used on television, in films and advertisements, on the internet, live in front of an audience, or in the many businesses such as shops, bars, restaurants, hairdressers etc who play music to their customers.  Royalties can also be earned when music is reproduced for sale, either as a physical copy or a digital download.

To be eligible for royalty payments you must have either written, performed, published or recorded a piece of music

How Does It Work?

Any business or organisation who provides music for the public to enjoy must buy a licence.  Money from the licence fees is distributed in the form or royaltes.

In order to receive royalty payments for your music, you must register as a music maker.

Where do I register?

There are 2 organisations in the UK where you can register your music, each one performs a specific role. You may wish to join one or both, this will depend on your contribution to the music; your role as a music maker.

PRS for Music combines PRS (Performing Rights Society) and MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society).  They represent the interests of music makers, collecting royalty payments on behalf of songwriters, composers, and publishers.

PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) deals with royalty payments for recorded music, representing the interests of performers and record companies.

Both PRS for Music and PPL offer a wealth of information for music makers on their websites.  If you are involved in making music, whether you write lyrics or melodies, or if you have performed on a song which has been recorded, I recommend that you take a look.


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